It seems my Healthy Boy readers loved the posts where I listed foods that you need to buy organic, and the ones that you don’t, so I now welcome you to Healthy Boy’s Top 10 lists. They are going to be regular posts in top ten format where I detail the best of the best, or the worst of the worst, of everything from nutrition to training, and general health topics that are all relative to you. Enjoy.
Have you seen those awesome new snickers commercials? The one where Betty White is playing football but it turns out it’s just a guy who is playing like an old woman because he is hungry? Or the other commercial where Aretha Franklin is in the back of the car complaining, but it turns out it’s just another guy who is "acting like a Diva" because he is hungry? Well I’m totally Aretha. When I am hungry I’m not myself, and If I don’t get some food in my stomach I will turn on you like last week’s sandwich you left in your gym bag. Although I would never reach for a snickers, I do love to eat. But what are the best foods we should be eating? We all have a good understanding of which foods are good and which are bad, but lets take a look at the 10 foods that are so healthy for you, you should be eating every week without fail.
Tomatoes contain a cancer fighting antioxidant carotenoid called Lycopene, which protects our cells, DNA and other structures from oxidation and free radicals. Studies in humans show it protects against colorectal, prostate, breast, lung and pancreatic cancers. But that’s not where the benefits of eating tomatoes end. They have been shown to reduce heart disease risk, improve cholesterol levels, reduce blood clotting and act as a natural anti-inflammatory. Throw some in your sandwiches, in your protein scrambles, or cook some up and make your own healthy marinara sauce to pair with some lean chicken breast for dinner.
Pronounced Keen-wha. Are you a carb lover? Love to munch on some brown rice or whole wheat bread everyday? Well you need to consider quinoa. Not only is it a healthy carbohyrate, but it also contains protein – a complete protein actually, which basically means it has all the nine essential amino acids our body’s need. This equals bigger muscles for you gym junkies and feeling fuller for my fat loss peeps. The magnesium in quinoa helps prevent and treat migraines, promote cardiovascular health, and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Throw some in your salad or heat up for a great way to start the day.
8. Walnuts and Almonds
You read my article on healthy fats and the importance they play in your fat loss, muscle building efforts, and overall health and the nuts are an excellent source of these fats. A handful of walnuts will provide you with a great does of Omega 3s, which provide you with better cognitive function, asthma prevention and treatment, and inflammatory skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. Almonds pack a large amount of muscle building protein and monounsaturated fat that lowers cholesterol as well as prevents diabetes and cardiovascular disease by lessening blood sugar surges after a meal. So grab a handful between meals or sprinkle some on your salads for healthy and tasty crunch.
Who doesn’t love berries? No matter if you throw them in your cereal or your protein shakes, or which berry you actually prefer, they are just so damn good! Blueberries are nutritional powerhouses that provide you with antioxidants that help you feel and look younger, the phenols in strawberries protect against macular degeneration and arthritis, and the ellagic acid in raspberries is antimicrobial and anti carcinogenic. Make sure you buy these organic where possible to avoid the nasty pesticides they have been know to be sprayed with.
I used to put garlic in everything, that was until I was kindly made aware that I had breath that could wilt daisies. So I had to cut back. However garlic has such powerful heath benefits that you need to find that happy balance between eating it and smelling like it. The sulfur containing compounds in garlic help reduce cholesterol levels, kill bacteria in the body, and even reduce erectile dysfunction disorders. Need a little help in the bedroom fellas? Throw some garlic in with your eggs, and throw it in soups and stews. In fact you can use garlic in pretty much all of your cooking.
5. Spinach and Kale
Put down that iceberg lettuce and opt for a some more nutritious and beneficial leafy greens such as spinach and kale. Popeye was onto something with spinach, its phytonutrients help protect against heart disease and colon cancer, and its jam packed with iron that will see you bounding around with energy all day. Kale, whilst still relatively unknown to the general public, is another green that will look after you in more ways than one. It protects against ovarian cancer, detoxifies your body and cells, and gives your immune system a big boost. So instead of spending crazy amounts of money on detox pills and potions every few months, or after a big night when you are feeling guilty the next day, just much on some spinach and kale and get the same benefits.
Wait, before you go running down to cinnabon and inhaling five cinnamon rolls because Healthy Boy told you that you can, you need to be eating real, ground cinnamon, not cinnamon sugar. Ground cinnamon can be found in any supermarket or health store in the herbs and spices section and is crazy cheap. This is one spice that I recommend you use as much as possible, even everyday if you can. It has been used throughout history because of it’s healthy properties, and can even prevent clotting as well as bacterial and fungi growth with the body. The most promising (i think) benefit of cinnamon is its ability to reduce blood sugar levels. Meaning it can help reduce and maintain your weight. Cinnamon slows the emptying of the stomach after a meal, therefore reducing blood sugar spikes, and is even known as an "Insulin mimicker" meaning it reduces insulin spikes after a high sugar or carbohydrate meal. Throw it on top of your cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, toast, ice cream…just about anything you can think of.
Another great source of natural omega 3 fatty acids. Consumption of salmon has been reported to reduce inflammation in our bodies which is a marker of aging and disease, and other cardiovascular diseases. Just two servings of salmon per week has been shown to lower triglycerides in our bloodstream, which are the cause of high blood pressure and cholesterol. But that’s not the end of the benefits of eating salmon, the list is so extensive it is one of the best foods you can eat. Make sure you buy wild salmon as opposed to farm salmon, which has been reported to have less PCBs (nasty chemicals) and mercury.
Broccoli is a real superfood. It’s phytonutrients protect against an incredibly large list of cancers I can’t possibly name them all here. It also helps prevent against liver and skin cell damage, and has been reported to even cure and eliminate infections of deadly bacteria in our bodies. Try to steam them where possible or throw them in some boiling water for a minute to soften them up before eating.
Yes, the top spot goes to the good ‘ol egg with its high protein content and heart healthy fat. Did you know that that not all protein is created equal, and that you body can’t absorb some proteins as well as others? Essentially that means if you are eating 20 grams of protein from a piece of steak for example, your body may only be able to absorb and utilize 10 grams of that. Well eggs top that list as the form of protein which is the most absorbed by our bodies, meaning more amino acids for those biceps of your you have been trying so hard to pump up lately. Scramble up some egg white or the whole egg, whatever is your preference. The fat in eggs, if you are watching your total calorie content, will not make you fat.